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ZOOLOGICAL SERIES 

OF 
FIELD MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 

Volume XX CHICAGO, OCTOBER 31, 1936 No. 19 

PRELIMINARY ACCOUNT OF CORAL SNAKES 

OF SOUTH AMERICA THE UBIW-V OF THE 

BY KARL P. SCHMIDT N'OV 1 6 1936 

ASSISTANT CURATOR OP AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES 

UNIVERSITY OF HJUMOK 

The difficulties attending a definitive revision of the genus 
Micrurus due to the dearth of material for study have been empha- 
sized in previous papers on this notable genus of snakes. Thanks to 
the opportunity to examine collections in European museums pre- 
sented by my tenure of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial fellow- 
ship in 1932, and to the cordial cooperation of colleagues, I have been 
able to combine observations on specimens available in both Ameri- 
can and European museums. Further acknowledgment of aid 
received from friends and colleagues is deferred for a more extended 
publication. 

Some order now begins to appear in the chaos of synonyms, and it 
is possible to define some of the taxonomic problems and to arrange the 
valid forms in a preliminary way. When this is done, the list proves 
to be extraordinarily at variance with the treatment of the genus 
by Boulenger in the Catalogue of Snakes in 1896, and equally diver- 
gent from the opinions of Amaral as expressed in his Lista remissiva 
dos Ophidios da Regiao Neotropica in 1929. As a basis for further 
examination, and I hope for discussion, I offer a list of the South 
American forms which now seem valid, to supplement my previous 
account of the North American species (Schmidt, 1928 and 1933). 
A number of groups of allied forms may now be discerned within the 
genus; but a consistent phyletic subdivision of the group as a whole 
is as yet impossible. A purely artificial division of the species into 
those with the black rings in triads and those without that arrange- 
ment simplifies the review; but M. dumerilii, M. circinalis, and M. 
ecuadorianus clearly exhibit the development of this type of pattern 
from the simpler alternation of red, yellow, and black, and it is 
quite possible that the perfected triad type of pattern may have 
developed more than once. In the forms without triads the presence 

No. 373 189 



190 FIELD MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY ZOOLOGY, VOL. XX 

or absence of supra-anal tubercles in adult males has been a useful 
key to the taxonomy. A specific character which has not hitherto 
been used is the proportionate length of the tail in the sexes, which 
may be the same in both sexes or much longer in males. 

Micrurus narduccii (Jan). 

Elaps narduccii Jan, Arch. Zool. Anat. Physiol., 2, p. 222, 1863. 

Elaps melanotus Peters, Sitzber. Ges. Naturf. Freunde, 1881, p. 51, 1881. 

Elaps scutiventris Cope, Froc. Amer. Phil. Soc., 11, p. 156, 1869. 

Micrurus narduccii Amaral, Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus., 67, Art. 24, p. 19, 1925. 

Type locality. Ecuador. 

Range. Amazonian slopes of Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. 

Micrurus mipartitus (DumeYil and Bibron). 

Elaps mipartitus Dumeril and Bibron, Erpetol. Gen., 7, p. 1220, 1854. 

Elaps decussatus Dumeril and Bibron, idem, p. 1221. 

Elaps semipartitus Jan, Rev. Mag. Zool., 1858, p. 113, 1858. 

Elaps multifasciatus Jan, idem, p. 521, 1858. 

Elaps anomalus Boulenger, Cat. Snakes Brit. Mus., 3, p. 417, pi. 22, fig. 2, 1896. 

Elaps fraseri Boulenger, idem, p. 432, pi. 22, fig. 3. 

Elaps mentalis Boulenger, idem, p. 432, pi. 22, fig. 4. 

Elaps hertwigi Werner, Verh. Zool. Bot. Ges. Wien, 76, p. 354, 1896. 

Elaps calamus Boulenger, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., (7), 9, p. 57, 1902. 

Elaps aequicinctus Werner, Zool. Anz., 26, p. 249, 1903. 

Elaps microps Boulenger, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1913, p. 1036, pi. 108, fig. 

2, 1913. 

Elaps spurrelli Boulenger, idem, 1914, p. 817, pi. 2, fig. 3, 1914. 
Elaps decipiens Werner, Sitzber. Akad. Wiss. Wien, (1), 135, p. 250, 1927. 
Micrurus mipartitus Ruthven, Misc. Publ. Mus. Zool. Univ. Mich., 8, p. 68, 

1922. 

Type locality. Rio Sucio, Colombia. 

Range. Central Nicaragua to Peru and Venezuela. 

Micrurus psyches (Daudin). 

Vipera psyches Daudin, Hist. Nat. Kept., 8, p. 320, pi. C, fig. 1, 1803. 
Micrurus psyches Beebe, Zoologica, 2, p. 216, 1919. 

Type locality. Surinam. 

Range. French, Dutch, and British Guiana. 

Distinguished from M. langsdorffii of the Amazon Basin by a 
lower range of ventrals, 192-197 in males, 210-214 in females, and the 
failure of the nuchal yellow marking to cross the head. 



1936 CORAL SNAKES OF SOUTH AMERICA SCHMIDT 191 

Micrurus langsdorffii Wagler. 

Micrurus langsdorffii Wagler, in Spix, Serp. Bras., p. 10, pi. 2, fig. 2, 1824. 
Elaps imperator Cope, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila., 1868, p. 110, 1868. 
Elaps batesi Gunther, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., (4), 1, p. 428, pi. 17, fig. D, 1868. 
Elaps annellatus Peters, Monatsber. Akad. Wiss. Berlin, 1871, p. 402, 1871. 
Elaps steindachneri Werner, Verb. Zool. Bot. Ges. Wien, 51, p. 599, 1901. 
Elaps fasslii Werner, Sitzber. Akad. Wiss. Wien, (1), 135, p. 249, 1927. 
Micrurus langsdorffii Amaral, Mem. Inst. Butantan, 4, p. 230, 1929. 
Micrurus mimosus Amaral, Mem. Inst. Butantan, 9, p. 221, 1935. 

Type locality. Rio Japura, Amazonas. 
Range. Amazon Basin. 

This is the species usually identified in museums as M. annellatus. 
I interpret the unusual coloration of the types of langsdorffii, impera- 
tor, and mimosus as an anomalous color pattern within this species, 
on the analogy of the Central American Micrurus affinis alienus; 
at any rate, only these three specimens with the ventral surfaces light 
and the black rings incomplete have been found, while the more 
normal type, with complete black rings, in which an alternation of 
lighter and darker is usually discernible ventrad, is known from 
twenty-four specimens, all from the Amazon basin. Elaps stein- 
dachneri and E. fasslii were based on the same type specimen, as is 
evident from a comparison of the original descriptions and confirmed 
by examining the specimen in question in the Naturhistorisches 
Museum in Vienna. The ventrals range from 195 to 210 in males, 
and from 208 to 215 (probably to 223) in females. 

Micrurus ornatissimus (Jan). 

Elaps ornatissimus Jan, Rev. Mag. Zool., 1858, p. 521, 1858. 
Elaps buckleyi Boulenger, Cat. Snakes Brit. Mus., 3, p. 416, pi. 22, fig. 1, 1896. 
Micrurus albicinclus Amaral, Comm. Telegraph. Matto Grosso Amazonas, 
84, Ann. 5, p. 26, pi., figs. 7-10, 1925. 

Type locality. Mexico (in error). 
Range. Amazon Basin. 

The characters available to distinguish this form from the last 
are the somewhat inconstant yellow supraocular or prefrontal spots 
and the higher number of ventrals in both sexes, 202-220 in males 
and 212-230 in females. It is possible that it should be merged with 
langsdorffii. Specimens with the red zones not darkened, like the 
type, are connected by intermediates with specimens in which they 
are completely black, as in the type of albicinctus. 



192 FIELD MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY ZOOLOGY, VOL. XX 
Micrurus circinalis (Dumeril and Bibron). 

Elaps circinalis Dumeril and Bibron, Erpetol. Gen., 7, p. 1210, 1854. 

Elaps riisei Jan, Rev. Mag. Zool., 1858, p. 525, 1858. 

Elaps bocourtii Jan, Icon. Gen. Ophidiens, 42, pi. 6, fig. 2, 1872. 

Type locality. Martinique (in error). 

Range. Trinidad and adjacent Venezuela. 

This form lacks supra-anal tubercles in adult males, and thus 
is not at all allied to M. dumerilii or M. carinicauda. The ventral 
count is low, 180 to 193 in males and 194 to 207 in females, and there 
is a noteworthy tendency to the reduction or loss of the first temporal. 
It is certainly fully distinct from M. corallinus of southeastern Brazil. 

Micrurus balzani (Boulenger). 

Elaps balzani Boulenger, Ann. Mus. Hist. Nat. Genova, (2), 19, p. 130, 1898. 
Elaps regularis Boulenger, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., (7), 10, p. 402, 1902. 

Type locality. Yungas, Bolivia. 

Range. Amazon drainage, Bolivia. 

Amaral refers this species to corallinus, from which, however, it is 
distinguished by the fusion of the lower postocular with the fifth 
labial. That this is not an adventitious character is shown by the 
fact that it is uniformly present in the seven specimens known, all 
from Bolivia. 

Micrurus mertensi sp. nov. 

Type from Pacasmayo, Peru. No. 94206 Senckenberg Museum, 
Frankfort, Germany. Adult male. Collected in 1887 by Max 
Bamberger. 

Diagnosis. A coral snake of the corallinus type, without supra- 
anal tubercles in the male, with the black of the head extended 
backward on the parietals and connected by a black bar with the 
nuchal ring. Ventrals 210-221 in males, 232-235 in females, thus 
distinctively higher than in corallinus; caudals respectively 47-51 
and 33-37; black rings three or four scales wide, the red zones five 
or six, the yellow rings distinct, one scale wide; scales of the red zones 
black-tipped; 22 to 28 black rings on the body and uniformly 8 on 
the tail in males, 5 in females; the temporals invariably 1-1; no 
entire subcaudals. The type measures 880 mm., tail 117. 

Paratypes. Four male specimens under Nos. 9420a and 9420b, 
and one female, 9420b, in the Senckenberg Museum, one of which 
(No. 18300) has been acquired by Field Museum in exchange. 



1936 CORAL SNAKES OF SOUTH AMERICA SCHMIDT 193 

A second female specimen, from Chanchamayo, Peru, British 
Museum, No. 1922.11.24.1, agrees exactly with this series. I infer 
that this specimen is from the Chanchamayo in the coastal province 
Ancash, rather than from the more familiar locality of the same 
name near Tarma. There are no less than five different localities 
with this name in Peru. 

Micrurus peruvianus sp. nov. 

Micrurus corallinus Dunn (nee Wied), Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash., 36, p. 186, 1923. 

Type from Perico, Department of Cajamarca, Peru. No. 17385 
Museum of Comparative Zoology. Collected in 1916 by G. K. Noble. 

Diagnosis. A small slender species with the pattern of coral- 
linus, without supra-anal tubercles in the male; top of head black 
nearly to the tips of the parietals, usually connected with the nuchal 
ring; yellow rings one and a half scales wide; scales of red zones 
uniformly black spotted; 25-27 black rings on the body and 4-9 
on the tail; frontal scute short, nearly as wide as long, little larger 
than one of the prefrontals. Four specimens out of six exhibit the 
tendency to reduction of the postoculars to one; two specimens have 
respectively 4 and 8 entire caudals; and two specimens have lost 
the anterior temporal on both sides. M. peruvianus is clearly allied 
to M. mertensi of coastal Peru, from which it is distinguished by its 
lower number of ventrals, 193 and 211 in two males, 196 to 205 in 
five females. It is even more closely allied to M. balzani of Bolivia, 
from which it is separated by the lower ventral count in females; but 
for the enormous geographic hiatus, I would scarcely venture to 
distinguish it. The type measures 415 mm., tail 65. 

Paratypes. Four specimens in the Museum of Comparative 
Zoology. Nos. 17386, male, and 17387-89, females, were collected 
at Perico with the type, and agree with it very closely in form 
and color pattern. No. 17384, from Bellavista, to the south, 
in the valley of the Maranon, apparently belongs with them, 
but has the black rings of the body reduced to 18, and thus resembles 
No. 4614 of the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris from Peru, 
which has 19 rings. These two specimens may connect peruvianus 
with still another race of coral snake in the Maranon Valley, as yet 
unknown. 

Micrurus corallinus (Wied). 

Elaps corallinus Wied, Nova Acta Acad. Leop. -Carol., 10, part 1, p. 108, pi. 

4, 1820. 
Micrurus corallinus Amaral, Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus., 67, Art. 24, p. 20, 1925. 



194 FIELD MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY ZOOLOGY, VOL. XX 

Type locality. Parahyba, Rio Frio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

Range. Eastern Brazil, from Espiritu Santo to Santa Catharina; 
inland to Matto Grosso. 

This species, which is extremely abundant in eastern Brazil, 
does not appear to reach the northern states, and is absent from 
the Amazonian rain-forest. It will be clear from preceding remarks, 
under circinalis, and below under dumerilii, that I do not regard 
these forms as subspecifically allied to corallinus. Scores of adult 
male specimens have been examined without finding a trace of the 
supra-anal tubercles which are so conspicuous in the Colombian and 
Venezuelan forms referred to corallinus. Few specimens have as yet 
been available from the inland states of Brazil, and the Bolivian 
records, though not rejected here, require further study. 

Micrurus dumerilii (Jan). 

Elaps dumerilii Jan, Rev. Mag. Zool., 1858, p. 522, 1858. 

Elaps colombianus Griffin, Mem. Carnegie Mus., 7, p. 216, 1916. 

Micrurus dumerilii Ruthven, Misc. Publ. Mus. Zool. Univ. Mich., 8, p. 68, 
1922. 

This species has conspicuous supra-anal tubercles in adult males. 
The black pigmentation of the red zones is concentrated at the ends 
of the zones adjacent to the yellow, so that an accessory narrow black 
ring is present on each side of the principal black ring, forming a 
triad, though a less perfect one than in the more completely developed 
triad type. 

Micrurus carinicauda sp. nov. 

Type from Orope, Zulia, Venezuela. No. 2587 Field Museum of 
Natural History. Adult male. Collected in 1909 by Ned Dearborn. 

Diagnosis. A coral snake allied to Micrurus dumerilii in its 
head coloration and in having strongly developed supra-anal tubercles 
in the male, but without accessory black rings. The ventrals range 
from 183 to 196 in four males and from 196 to 214 in four females, 
and the caudals from 48 to 51 and from 31 to 35. The number of 
black rings varies from 18 to 25 on the body and 4 to 10 on the tail. 
The type measures 775 mm., tail 122. 

Paratypes. The known series of this species is composed of 
three specimens in the Naturhistorisches Museum in Basel, Nos. 
9238, 9974, and 11357, from the Province of Falcon, Venezuela; 
three in the Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna, two from Puerto 



1936 CORAL SNAKES OF SOUTH AMERICA SCHMIDT 195 

Cabello and one from San Esteban, Caracao, Venezuela; and No. 
3936 American Museum of Natural History, also from Venezuela. 

Micrurus transandinus sp. nov. 

Type from Andagoya, Choco, Colombia. No. 32744 Museum of 
Comparative Zoology. Adult male. Collected in 1915 by H. G. F. 
Spurrell. 

Diagnosis. Allied to forms with supra-anal tubercles and a 
black cap. Ventrals 188 to 200 in twelve males and 205-217 in 
twelve females, with caudals respectively 46-58 and 34-45; black 
rings from 11 +7 to 16 +8 in males and from 14 +5 to 20 +7 in females ; 
distinguished from M. nigrocinctus by its black cap and from M. 
clarki by the presence of supra-anal tubercles; with many fewer 
black rings than M. carinicauda. The nearest ally to the south, 
M. ecuadorianus, likewise lacks the tubercles; the M. dumerilii of the 
Magdalena Basin, with supra-anal tubercles and with similar scale 
counts, differs in the invariable presence of accessory black rings. 

Paratypes. Two specimens in Field Museum, Nos. 11589- 
90, come from Paramba, Ecuador, as does British Museum No. 
1898.4.28.84; British Museum Nos. 1901.3.29.36 and 1929.10.19.3 
are also from Ecuador; in the same museum Nos. 1913.11.12.64- 
66, 1914.5.21.61-64, and four additional specimens without 
catalogue numbers, come from the Pacific slopes of Colombia; 
one specimen from Ecuador and one from Colombia are in the 
collections of the Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna; and Nos. 
32743 and 32745-46 in the Museum of Comparative Zoology are 
from the type locality. 

Micrurus antioquiensis sp. nov. 

Type from Santa Rita, north of Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia. 
No. 1898.10.27.10 British Museum of Natural History. 

Diagnosis. A coral snake indistinguishable from M. transan- 
dinus of the Pacific slopes of Colombia in scale characters, but with 
the nuchal ring absent in a majority of the specimens. In seven 
specimens known from the Medellin district, the nuchal ring is 
absent in four, reduced to a half-ring in two, and complete in one. 
The ventrals vary from 189 to 204 and the caudals from 47 to 56 
in five males, 216-217 and 36-42 in two females. 

Paratypes. A second specimen from Medellin in the British 
Museum, No. 97.11.12.16, is a male. Five specimens in the American 



196 FIELD MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY ZOOLOGY, VOL. XX 

Museum of Natural History, Nos. 35566-70, were collected by 
Hermano Niceforo Maria in the Medellin region. 

Remarks. It is scarcely surprising to find a partition of the 
coral snakes of Colombia into geographic races by the great ranges 
of the Andes. The forms here described are retained as species 
rather than subspecies until more information regarding their 
distribution becomes available. 

Micrurus ecuadorianus sp. nov. 

Type from Rio Daule, western Ecuador. No. 3559 Museum of 
Comparative Zoology. Adult male. 

Diagnosis. A coral snake with a black cap and the tail of the 
male strongly enlarged, but without supra-anal tubercles; allied 
therefore to Micrurus clarki and M. peruvianus (the nearest species 
geographically), but distinguished from these forms by the develop- 
ment of accessory black rings in the red zones, bordering the yellow 
rings. Ventrals 200-209 and caudals 43-48 in seven males, 214- 
223 and 33-35 in four females. 

Paratypes. A female specimen in the Museum of Comparative 
Zoology, No. 3569, is from the type locality, and No. 8399 in the 
same museum is from Guayaquil; four specimens in the British 
Museum, Nos. 1931.10.21.20-23, come from Ancon and Colonche, 
southwestern Ecuador; two specimens, No. 66-1914, in the Zoolog- 
ische Staatssammlung in Munich, from Guayaquil; and two speci- 
mens with no data other than "Ecuador," one in the Naturhistorisches 
Museum, Vienna, the other, No. 27636, in the American Museum of 
Natural History. 

Remarks. This form appears to replace M. transandinus of the 
Pacific slope of Colombia in Ecuador, but is fully distinct in the 
supra-anal tubercle character; it is perhaps most closely allied to 
M. clarki of Panama, but I hesitate to apply trinomials in this group 
until the geographic relations can be more clearly defined. 

Micrurus hemprichii (Jan). 

Elaps hemprichii Jan, Rev. Mag. Zool., 1858, p. 523, 1858. 

Micrurus hemprichii Amaral, Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus., 67, Art. 24, p. 17, 1925. 

Type locality. Colombia. 

Range. From the Guianas to Ecuador and through the Amazon 
Basin to Para. 

A very distinct species, with the triad character of the black 
rings, the only species of the genus with an undivided anal plate. 



1936 CORAL SNAKES OF SOUTH AMERICA SCHMIDT 197 

Micrurus surinamensis (Cuvier). 

Elaps surinamensis Cuvier, Regne Animal, 2, p. 84, 1817. 
Micrurus surinamensis Beebe, Zoologica, 2, p. 216, 1919. 

Type locality. Surinam. 

Range. The Guianas to Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru. 

The head-shields are strongly modified in this unusually stocky 
and short-bodied species, the frontal being much more narrowed than 
in any other species of the genus. The pattern is equally distinctive, 
the narrow nuchal ring being the outer ring of a complete triad, and 
the light head-shields sharply bordered with black. 

Micrurus ancoralis ancoralis (Jan). 

Elaps marcgravii var. ancoralis Jan, Icon. Gen. Ophidiens, 42, pi. 4, fig. 2, 1872. 
Elaps rosenbergi Boulenger, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1898, p. 117, pi. 13, 1898. 
Micrurus ancoralis Amaral, Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus., 67, Art. 24, p. 19, 1925. 

Type locality. Ecuador. 

Range. Pacific drainage of Ecuador. 

Micrurus ancoralis is an extraordinarily distinct species. It is 
remarkable that Boulenger should have been misled into describing 
rosenbergi, based on specimens in which the first pair of labials are in 
contact. In the type of ancoralis, examined in Munich, the mental, 
anterior chin-shields and first labials meet in a point, so that this 
specimen is in fact exactly intermediate between the single speci- 
men, British Museum ancoralis "b," in which there is a broad con- 
tact of the mental and chin-shields (separating the first labials), 
and the fifteen additional specimens in various museums in which 
the first labials meet. 

Amaral's suggestion that rosenbergi be referred to the synonymy 
of filiformis is entirely untenable. After examination of all the 
specimens available, it is clear that the Ecuadorian specimens fall into 
one series and the Colombian into another, and rosenbergi, whose 
type locality is Paramba, Ecuador, falls unequivocally into the 
synonymy of typical ancoralis, so that the Colombian subspecies 
requires a new name. 

Micrurus ancoralis jani subsp. nov. 

Type from Andagoya, Choco, Colombia. No. 32722 Museum of 
Comparative Zoology. Adult male. Collected by H. G. F. Spurrell. 

Diagnosis. A coral snake very closely allied to Micrurus anco- 
ralis and replacing it in the Colombian Province of Choco; agreeing 



198 FIELD MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY ZOOLOGY, VOL. XX 

with ancoralis in all essential characters, but with a consistently lower 
number of black triads on the body, 12-15 in males and 15-16 in 
females, compared with 16-23 and 18-24 in Ecuadorian ancoralis; 
ventrals and caudals 248-266 and 32-37 in males, 271-290 and 30-35 
in females. 

Paratypes. Nine specimens in the British Museum from Tado, 
Pena Lisa, and Andagoya, collected by Messrs. Alcock, Spurrell, and 
Palmer; two specimens in the Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna, 
from Novita, Rio San Juan, Colombia; and five specimens in the 
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Nos. 11151, 13270, 32720-21, 
32723, from Andagoya. 

Remarks. Close agreement in the elongate body and distinctive 
color pattern, and contiguity of geographic range with Micrurus 
ancoralis, place jani unquestionably as a subspecies of that form. I 
take pleasure in naming this, one of the finest of all coral snakes, for 
Giorgio Jan, whose early descriptions of species in this genus were 
more sound than those of subsequent revisers. 

Micrurus spixii Wagler. 

Micrurus spixii Wagler, in Spix, Serp. Bras., p. 48, pi. 18, 1824. 
Elaps corallinus var. obscura Jan, Icon. Gen. Ophidiens, 41, pi. 6, fig. 3, 1872. 
Elaps heterozonus Peters, Sitzber. Ges. Naturf. Freunde, 1881, p. 52, 1881. 
Elaps princeps Boulenger, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., (7), 15, p. 456, 1905. 
Elaps ehrhardti Miiller, Zool. Anz., 65, p. 198, 1926. 

Type locality. Solimoes River, Amazonas. 
Range. Amazon Basin. 

This species is one of the largest and most distinct of the coral 
snakes. In old preserved material the distinction between the yellow 
zones, which are unusually broad, and the red zones, may require 
close attention to the arrangement, which in turn may be obscured 
by confluence of two triads into a "quinquad" by suppression of the 
red zone between them. The nuchal black ring is the middle ring of 
a triad. The species is characterized by large size and thickness of 
body, presence of a few undivided caudals in the majority of speci- 
mens, broad yellow zones, and absence of sex dimorphism in length 
of tail. In addition to the synonyms quoted, it has frequently been 
identified as Elaps marcgravii (=ibiboboca) and as lemniscatus. 

Micrurus isozonus (Cope). 

Elaps isozonus Cope, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila., 1860, p. 73, 1860. 
Elaps omissus Boulenger, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., (9), 6, p. 110, 1920. 



1936 CORAL SNAKES OF SOUTH AMERICA SCHMIDT 199 

Type locality. South America. 

Range. Venezuela. 

This species becomes readily distinguishable with the accumula- 
tion of adequate series of specimens from Venezuela. In it the triad 
arrangement is constantly different from that of Micrurus spixii, to 
whose synonymy it was referred by Boulenger. It agrees in having 
the nuchal ring as the outer ring of the first triad, as in frontalis, 
lemniscatus, ibiboboca, etc., while in spixii the nuchal ring is invariably 
the middle ring of a triad. 

Micrurus frontalis frontalis (Dume'ril and Bibron). 

Elaps frontalis Dumeril and Bibron, Erpetol. Gen., 7, p. 1223, 1854. 
Elaps baliocoryphus Cope, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila., 1859, p. 346, 1859. 

Type locality. Corrientes and Misiones Territory, Argentina. 

Range. Sao Paulo to Rio Grande do Sul, westward to the Parana 
Basin. 

The use of the trinomial is necessitated by the revival of altirostris 
for the representatives of this species in Uruguay and I feel that still 
further races of this southernmost coral snake may prove recognizable. 

Micrurus frontalis altirostris (Cope). 

Elaps altirostris Cope, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila., 1859, p. 345, 1859. 

Type locality. South America. 

Range. Uruguay. 

This form is distinguished from typical frontalis by the greater 
amount of yellow on the head-shields, by a shorter tail, and by a 
distinctively lower number of ventrals, 197-208 in males, 206-210 
in females; caudals 16-20 in both sexes. 

Micrurus pyrrhocryptus (Cope). 

Elaps pyrrhocryptus Cope, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila., 1862, p. 347, 1862. 
Elaps simonsii Boulenger, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., (7), 9, p. 338, 1902. 

Type locality. Vermejo River, Argentine Chaco. 

Range. Savanna country from Mendoza in the Argentine to 
Bolivia, eastward to the Paraguay River. 

The redescription of this species as simonsii by Boulenger was 
due to the appearance of a single specimen with the first labials 
separated by the mental and chin-shields. That this is an anomaly 
is afe once evident upon the examination of a series of specimens, 



200 FIELD MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY ZOOLOGY, VOL. XX 

which agree perfectly in color pattern. No intergrades between this 
species and frontalis have been found, and it seems preferable to 
maintain the species as fully distinct, although the coloration of 
the head shows plainly that it is allied to frontalis rather than to 
marcgravii. 

I have designated the Vermejo River as type locality because 
this river was ascended by the Page Expedition, and of the localities 
visited is by far the most likely origin for the specimen. 

Micrurus ibiboboca (Merrem). 

Elaps ibiboboca Merrem, Tent. Syst. Amphib., p. 142, 1820. 

Elaps marcgravii Wied, Nova Acta Acad. Leop.-Carol., 10, p. 109, 1820. 

Elaps gratenhorstii Jan, Rev. Mag. Zool., 1858, p. 523, 1858. 

Elaps heierochilus Mocquard, Bull. Soc. Pbilom. Paris, (7), 11, p. 39, 1887. 

Micrurus ibiboboca Amaral, Rev. Mus. Paulista, 15, p. 7, 1925. 

Type locality. Brazil. 
Range. Northeastern Brazil. 

Amaral concludes that this species is synonymous with Micrurus 
lemniscatus of the Amazon Basin; lemniscatus, however, has a 
definitely higher range of ventral scales, and a still better marked 
difference in the number of caudals. M. ibiboboca is probably more 
closely allied to M . frontalis than to M. lemniscatus; but I regard 
the relations of this series of forms as one of the primary remaining 
taxonomic problems in the genus. I follow Amaral in referring 
gratenkorstii and heterochilus here. I have not seen the types. 

Micrurus decoratus (Jan). 

Elaps decoratus Jan, Rev. Mag. Zool., 1858, p. 525, 1858. 

Elaps fischeri Amaral, Anex. Mem. Inst. Butantan, 1, p. 59, pi. 2, figs. 1-5, 

1921. 

Elaps ezequieli Lutz and Mello, Folha Med., 4, p. 2, 1923. 
Micrurus decoratus Amaral, Mem. Inst. Butantan, 4, p. 229, 1929. 

Type locality. Mexico (in error). 

Range. Rio de Janeiro to Santa Catharina. 

This species is characterized by the usual loss of the anterior 
temporal so that the sixth upper labial reaches the parietal; out of 
nine specimens examined, five have temporals 0-1, two have 0-1 on 
one side and 1-1 on the other, and two have 1-1 on both sides. The 
type of M. fischeri is based on the same anomalous extension of the 
mental to meet the anterior chin-shields which has so greatly enriched 



1936 CORAL SNAKES OF SOUTH AMERICA SCHMIDT 201 

the synonymy in this genus. The species in which this character has 
appeared are not necessarily in the least allied. In M. narduccii it is 
the normal condition; it appears as an accidental anomaly in M. 
mipartitus, leading to the description of M. mentalis; in M. lemnis- 
catus, leading to M. helleri; in M. pyrrhocryptus, leading to M. 
simonsii; and in M. decoratus, leading to M. fischeri; while its exist- 
ence in the type of M. ancoralis misled Boulenger into redescribing 
normal specimens of this species as rosenbergi. The nuchal black 
ring in decoratus is the middle ring of a triad. 

Micrurus lemniscatus (Linnaeus). 

Coluber lemniscatus Linnaeus, Syst. Nat., p. 224, 1758. 
Micrurus lemniscatus Beebe, Zoologica, 2, p. 216, 1919. 
Micrurus helleri Schmidt and Schmidt, Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Zool. Ser., 12, 
p. 129, 1925. 

Elaps frontifasciatus Werner, Sitzber. Akad. Wiss. Wien, 135, p. 250, 1927. 

Type locality. Asia (in error). 
Range. The Amazon basin. 

I have had repeated occasion to discuss the synonymy of this 
species and have myself contributed to it. In this species, as in 
spixii and langsdorffii, the uniformity throughout the vast region 
from the foothills of the Andes to the lower Amazon seems due to 
rapid passive dispersal during floods. This species is allied on one 
hand to M. filiformis by the occasional high ventral counts, which 
reach 265, and on the other to M. ibiboboca, as maintained by Amaral. 
The latter species, however, invariably has a shorter tail and lower 
number of caudals, 19-30 (in both sexes), as compared with 30-42 in 
lemniscatus. 

Micrurus filiformis (Giinther). 

Elaps filiformis Giinther, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1859, p. 86, pi. 17, 1859. 
Micrurus filiformis Amaral, Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus., 67, Art. 24, p. 19, 1925. 

Type locality. Para, Brazil. 
Range. Amazon Valley. 

This is apparently allied directly to Micrurus lemniscatus, with 
which its range is nearly coextensive. It is presumably separated 
from its ally by a difference of food habits. Only about seventeen 
specimens are thus far known ; in them the ventrals range from 269 to 
321, the caudals from 34 to 45, without considering the sexes. 



202 FIELD MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY ZOOLOGY, VOL. XX 
Micrurus tschudii tschudii (Jan). 

Elaps tschudii Jan, Rev. Mag. Zool., 1858, p. 524, 1858. 

Micrurus tschudii Schmidt and Schmidt, Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Zool. Ser., 
12, p. 132, pi. 12, 1925. 

Type locality. Peru. 
Range. Coastal Peru. 

The existence of specimens of this species said to be from Bolivia, 
in the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris and others from Chan- 
chamayo, Peru, in Dresden, raises difficult problems of distribution. 
The Peruvian locality may be the Chanchamayo in coastal Ancash, 
as surmised in the similar case of Micrurus mertensi. The specimens 
in Paris labeled "Bolivia," collected by Wiener, agree with my 
diagnosis of olssoni more closely than with tschudii, but lack the 
mottled snout. 

Micrurus tschudii olssoni Schmidt and Schmidt. 

Micrurus olssoni Schmidt and Schmidt, Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Zool. Ser., 
12, p. 130, pi. 11, 1925. 

Type locality. Negritos, Piura, Peru. 

Range. Desert coastal region of northwestern Peru. 

This form is set off from its close ally to the south by the mottled 
color of the snout, and by a distinctly lower number of ventrals, 
196-204 in seven males, 206-213 in five females, compared with 
202-216 and 210-232 in eleven male and eight female specimens of 
tschudii tschudii. The number of triads in olssoni ranges only from 
10 to 13, while in the typical form their number ranges from 13 to 19. 

Micrurus dissoleucus dissoleucus (Cope). 

Elaps dissoleucus Cope, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila., 1859, p. 345, 1859. 

Type locality. Venezuela. 
Range. Northwestern Venezuela. 

In seven male specimens the ventral and caudal range is 178-193 
and 24-28, and in six females 200-206 and 21-23 ; the type measures 
578 mm., and a specimen from Maracaibo in the Naturhistorisches 
Museum in Basel measures about 620 mm. As in related forms, 
the nuchal ring forms the outer ring of an anterior triad, so that the 
triad formula may be written 2^6+1 or J^ll+1^, which is the 
actual range of variation in this character in the series. 



1936 CORAL SNAKES OF SOUTH AMERICA SCHMIDT 203 

Micrurus dissoleucus melanogenys (Cope). 

Elaps melanogenys Cope, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila., 1860, p. 72, 1860. 
Elaps hollandi Griffin, Mem. Carnegie Mus., 7, p. 218, pi. 18, figs. 10-12, 1916. 

Type locality. South America. 

Range. Santa Marta region of Colombia. 

This species is one of the smallest of coral snakes, distinguished 
by its size and different form of head from dissoleucus, and with a 
shorter tail, with few caudals, 22-23 in males and 17-19 in females. 

Micrurus dissoleucus dunni Barbour. 

Micrurus dunni Barbour, Occ. Papers Mus. Zool. Univ. Mich., 129, p. 35, 1923. 

Type locality. Ancon, Canal Zone, Panama. 

Range. Panama to the Magdalena Basin, Colombia. 

With only four Panama specimens of this form available, I am 
unable to separate the small coral snake of this type in the Mag- 
dalena Basin from them, though I strongly suspect that a fourth 
subspecies in this chain of forms will ultimately be distinguishable. 

REFERENCES 
AMARAL, AFRANIO DO 

1929. Lista remissiva dos Ophidios da Regiao Neotropica. Mem. Inst. Butan- 
tan, 4, pp. 127-271. 

BOULENGER, G. A. 

1896. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum. 3, pp. xiv+727, 
text figs. 1-37, pis. 1-25. 

SCHMIDT, KARL P. 

1928. Notes on American Coral Snakes. Bull. Antivenin Inst. Amer., 2, 

pp. 63-64. 
1933. Preliminary Account of the Coral Snakes of Central America and 

Mexico. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Zool. Ser., 20, pp. 29-40. 

THELIBR" n YOFTHE 

NOV161936 

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 



UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA